General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra refuses to sit down with Black Owned Media Companies
Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group and other signatories have published the following open letter to General Motors CEO Mary Barra in today’s Detroit Free Press (March 28, 2021):
Why??? We were seriously offended watching you stand on stage, after the death of George Floyd, saying, “”Black Lives Matter,”” when you have refused to acknowledge us and you have consistently, over time and after multiple requests, refused to take a meeting with the largest Black Owned Media companies in America. Mary, the very definition of systemic racism is when you are ignored, excluded and you don’t have true economic inclusion.
General Motors spends billions of dollars in advertising and less than 0.5% goes to Black Owned Media (not to be confused with Black Targeted Media). This is horrendous, considering that we as African Americans make up approximately 14% of the population in America and we spend billions buying your vehicles. Mary, you have asked us to meet with your Chief Marketing Officer, Deborah Wahl. We have absolutely no interest in that because when Deborah was Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s, in our opinion, Black Owned Media was, once again, severely neglected, minimized and discriminated against. To be clear, Black Owned Media and not minority owned, because minority includes white women and large corporations like General Motors can hide behind and tout their minority records while continuing not to do business with Black Owned Media companies.
Mary, true leaders must lean in and personally address the real issues in our society and in business. We are publicly asking you to stop the systemic racism by General Motors against Black Owned Media companies. We are requesting a one hour Zoom meeting with you and several of your key board members and us, the largest Black Owned Media companies in America, so we can resolve this very important issue and have a long-term partnership that’s mutually beneficial for General Motors and the African American consumers. Mary, we and others firmly believe that if you continue to hold the position that Black Owned Media doesn’t deserve meaningful economic inclusion and we are not worth meeting with, then you should resign, effective immediately.
About Allen Media Group/Entertainment Studios
Chairman and CEO Byron Allen founded Allen Media Group/Entertainment Studios in 1993. Headquartered in Los Angeles, it has offices in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Raleigh. Allen Media Group owns 16 ABC-NBC-CBS-FOX network affiliate broadcast television stations and ten 24-hour HD television networks serving nearly 180 million subscribers: THE WEATHER CHANNEL, PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, JUSTICE CENTRAL.TV, THEGRIO.TV, and THIS TV. Allen Media Group will add its eleventh network, THE WEATHER CHANNEL EN ESPANOL in 2021. Allen Media Group also owns LOCAL NOW and THE GRIO free-streaming AVOD services, powered by THE WEATHER CHANNEL and content partners, which delivers real-time, hyper-local news, weather, traffic, sports, and lifestyle information. Allen Media Group also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 67 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. Allen Media Group International Television continues to extend its corporate branding and content around the globe. It currently has active license agreements and programming in South Africa, The United Arab Emirates, Australia, The Bahamas, Canada and New Zealand. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Allen Media Group provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, multimedia platforms, and the World Wide Web. Our mission is to provide excellent programming to our viewers, online users, and Fortune 500 advertising partners.”
Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures is a full-service, theatrical motion picture distribution company specializing in wide release commercial content. ESMP released 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, the shark thriller 47 METERS DOWN, which grossed over $44.3 million. In 2018, ESMP also released the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Western HOSTILES, the historic mystery-thriller CHAPPAQUIDDICK and the sequel to 47 METERS DOWN, 47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED. The digital distribution unit of Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, Freestyle Digital Media, is a premiere multi-platform distributor with direct partnerships across all major cable, digital and streaming platforms. Capitalizing on a robust infrastructure, proven track record and a veteran sales team, Freestyle Digital Media is a true home for independent films.
In 2016, Allen Media Group purchased The Grio, a highly-rated digital video-centric news community platform devoted to providing African-Americans with compelling stories and perspectives currently underrepresented in existing national news outlets. The Grio features aggregated and original video packages, news articles and opinion pieces on topics that include breaking news, politics, health, business and entertainment. Originally launched in 2009, the platform was then purchased by NBC News in 2010. The digital platform remains focused on curating exciting digital content and currently has more than 100 million annual visitors.